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In Memoriam 2015

January 1: Donna Douglas: Played daughter Elly May Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies. (Age 82). 1: Mario Cuomo: Governor of New York (1983 to 1994) (Age 82). 2: James Cecil Dickens: Known as Little Jimmy Dickens, best known for his song May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up ...

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The disappearance of misc.activism.progressive and the emergence of Thought Crime Radio

Almost four years ago, the articles in the USENET newsgroup misc.activism.progressive ground to a halt, and moderator Rich Winkel has all but disappeared from the USENET, whom I learn resided in Harrisburg (up until 2010, at least), a half hour or so drive from his ...

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Sounding off on the end of CanCon and the CRTC

I guess with the recent decision to axe all cancon requirements for daytime programming in Canada, the CRTC is crawling toward its own irrelevance. Let's not be naive, Canadian culture is that much more weakened without the protection it partially enjoyed from American influence. With ...

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Eldred, Saskatchewan on the map … barely

Eldred, Saskatchewan on the map ... barely

I've written about obscure Saskatchewan communities before. Here is another community far to the north of Unity. My ancestors from France settled here. Many of my ancestors were pioneers that broke new farming ground nearest to a community called Eldred, Saskatchewan. Eldred was about 10 km ...

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Zero

Once upon a time, around the year 525 during the reign of Pope John I, a monk named Dionysius invented the idea of Anno Domini by producing a calendar which marked the time since the birth of Christ. The numbering of the years was adopted ...

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Fortune Cookies for Human Rights

Fortune Cookies for Human Rights

You know, I was minding my own business in this classy Chinese restaurant, engorging myself on their copious buffet, had my fill, and was handed the bill with an accompanying fortune cookie. This fortune cookie (the one to the left) really existed, and I never saw ...

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Getting f(x) notation to work in Maple

Getting f(x) notation to work in Maple

Maple is a robust math environment which can graph, solve equations, and solve for the unknown with the aid of its computer algebra solver (CAS), which is capable of computing exact roots of cubic functions, for example. I wanted to demonstrate for myself that Maple could ...

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Kudos to the 1050 CHUM Memorial Blog

Kudos to the 1050 CHUM Memorial Blog

Recently, I've been hit (my website that is) by someone possibly checking his plethora of links from his/her website, and when I back-traced it, I find this cool blog which acts as a convincing historical shrine to the late great 1050 CHUM Radio in Toronto. ...

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The Obfuscation of Electronics: The Behringer Xenyx 502

The Obfuscation of Electronics: The Behringer Xenyx 502

This is more like a meta-review. I have gone to Canada Computes where nearly the entire Behringer line is sold, and was impressed by the specs. But does it do what I want, the way I want it? I face a number of obstacles, being a ...

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In Memoriam: Gene Wilder, at 83

wilder_no_meme

The much-memed image of Gene Wilder in his role as Willy Wonka in the 1971 film.

Today, it was reported that actor and meme victim Gene Wilder died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at age 83.

I’ve looked up some things about the meme from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. Turns out that the image is from a scene where he reveals a little bit of his chocolate manufactouring process to some enthusiastic children. A few years ago, social media made a meme of this image, attaching condescending statements on all possible topics, in what became known as the “Creepy Wonka” or “Condescending Wonka” meme. A “Condescending Wonka” twitter account garnered half a million followers, even though the account had little else going for it but its name.

Don’t forget however, that Wilder had appeared in some of the biggest comedy movies in the 1970s, many produced by Mel Brooks, such as Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein; and he also appeared in the Woody Allen comedy Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, but Were Afriad to Ask.

Mel Brooks, Jim Carrey, Ricky Gervais, and Russell Crowe, among others, each sent their regards within minutes of the sad news, via Twitter.

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The popularity of “Child Poverty”

Over the past decade or so, this human rights cause “flavour of the month” called “child poverty” has been in style as something to say and for human rights groups and politicians to champion. Before that, we only had “poverty”, until sometime in the late ’90s, when someone discovered “child poverty”, and now it’s all the rage, and everyone’s talking about it.

The nice thing, is that it made poverty go away. No one has poverty anymore. We only have child poverty now. Images of starving children living in squalor with no education, no running water and no Nintendo while their Ivy League fatcat parents live on caviar and crumpets served with china and silverware and playing World of Warcraft on their X-boxes. Down with fatcat parents!

Of course, that isn’t true, but that is the image it conjures up for me. I just want to ask: when we speak of “child poverty”, don’t we just mean “poverty”? Why do we need to separate the poverty of children from the poverty of the entire family they came from? Doesn’t fixing poverty for children mean fixing poverty for their families?

It also turns out, but you have to do some digging in Google to see it, that there are other kinds of poverty that are up and coming on the poverty hit parade. There is also “elderly poverty” and “working age poverty”. You know, children living high on the hog while the parents have to beg for scraps. I think that’s how it works … In addition, “working age poverty” can still mean children in some parts of the world.

These are not so popular, even though those in “working age poverty” are likely to be parents of children living in “child poverty”, whose grandparents live in “elderly poverty”. Indeed, poverty has become a complicated science. After all, you can’t just “redistribute wealth” because “socialism has failed”. It failed because no one in charge wanted it to succeed. At any rate, social safety nets are soooo ’70’s!

I don’t wish to make light of poverty. I believe all poverty is a social problem. I just don’t think it is advancing any cause to balkanize people in poverty into different factions as if they are in competition against each other for donations, government funding, or anything else of the sort. These new classifications are just rhetoric that make the problem seem more complicated than it is.

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Famous Teetotalers 012: Right-wingers

Tweet Ted Nugent or “The Nuge” is a hard rock/psychedelic guitarist whose musical career dates back to 1963. He has made his stance against drug and alcohol abuse part of his right-wing activism. He is an ardent Republican supporter, and is strongly in favour of gun rights. It is said that his stance against substance abuse […] […]

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OOC Recipients 012: Movie Makers

Tweet David Cronenberg, a filmmaker otherwise known as the King of Horror, or the Baron of Blood, was essentially a Canadian filmmaker, and didn’t delve into Hollywood much. Most of his films were shot in Ontario, with notable exceptions. Films like Madame Butterfly and Eastern Promises were shot in China and England respectively. Rabid and Shivers […] […]

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From coronation to Elbowgate: the extremes of Trudeau coverage

Tweet By world standards, the Parliamentary melee that happened this past week is pretty tame, but what has now become known as Elbowgate brings down our insanely high expectations of Justin Trudeau, fuelled by the media. The melee was nothing, Trudeau apologized, and sensible people are moving on. But in essensce it is a shock that it […] […]

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Famous teetotalers 011: Muhammad Ali

Tweet Muhammad Ali, formerly Cassius Clay, was a lot of things to people living in the 1960s and 1970s. Apart from being thrice awarded the world championship in boxing as a heavyweight (1964, 1974, and 1978), he would be a draft dodger and peace activist, a devotee of Islam, and pop culture icon. Like most elite […] […]

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OOC Recipients 011: Sigers and Chanteuses

Tweet In the early 1980s, Manitoba-born Loreena McKennitt was busking in Toronto in order to finance her first album, Elemental. It led to a career in performing Celtic music that would sell 14 million records worldwide over the course of her career. She was awarded the Order of Canada in 2004. That was a few years […] […]

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Famous Teetotalers 010 – Howard Hughes

Tweet Howard Hughes (1905-1976) — Was a multi-talented business tycoon, one of the world’s richest men in his day. He was an aviator, an aircraft engineer, inventor, and filmmaker. It would take a long time to go through his accomplishments, but the founding of Trans-World Airlines (TWA) has to count for something. He made some successful […] […]

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OOC Recipients 010: You would want your kids to look up to them

Tweet Marc Garneau — Kids all want to be astronauts. Or firefighters. Or race car drivers. Most kids stand a better chance at being one of the latter two. Engineer Marc Garneau got the first one: he went on three NASA Space Shuttle flights. And in going full circle with this, he is now, after a […] […]

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Famous teetotalers 09: Musicians too

Tweet Rumor has it that Prince, otherwise known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, is teetotal, although maybe it is hard to believe. All Google searches for Prince in association with drugs led to Saudi sheikhs, cocaine and beheadings (not kidding), so I can only believe what the rumors say. Actually, it is a little […] […]

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OOC Recipients 08: Rushing to the top

Tweet For the most consecutive gold and platinum albums by a rock band, first place is The Beatles, second is The Rolling Stones, and third place is the Canadian group Rush (24 gold, 14 platinum). The members of Rush have worked hard to reproduce their album sound in their concerts, so Rush concerts have been known […] […]

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Famous Teetotalers 08: Those who are good at what they do

Tweet Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman (1918-1988) was the only famous scientist I could find that was teetotal by repuation. Einstein was a moderate drinker, and a heavier smoker. Feynman reportedly used to be a moderate drinker also, no reason why not, but on a trip in Brazil he felt a compulsion to drink alcohol in the […] […]

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OOC Receipients 07: Entertainers

Tweet While Connie Kaldor won Juno awards on three occasions (1989, 2004, and 2005) for her work on Children’s albums, she is better known for her amazing talent in folk music and live performances. She has made 14 albums to date, not including her children’s albums. She became a member of the Order of Canada in […] […]

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Retail sales attention grabber

Tweet I was driving to Oakville, and stopping at Tim Horton’s, and this bicycle store sale sign caught my attention. I have heard of “door crashing sales” before, but the Mississauga branch of Cyclepath were not just shooting the bull, they meant it. Due to what appears to be a serious accident, the entire front window […] […]

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Famous Teetotalers 07: Philosophers

Tweet Henry David Thoreau – Author of Walden and Civil Disobedience, among scores of other books, this 19th-century Harvard-educated American philosopher and writer stands at the top rank of American Literature and philosophy. His connection with nature and desire for a balanced life led him to write “I believe that water is the only drink for […] […]

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The latest on Lolita Nation

Tweet The band Game Theory existed in the 1980s, and had a good run as artistic output goes. But during their day, they were beset by various runs of bad luck: the folding of their record label, Enigma, and the lack of publicity they had during and after they folded. The group disbanded around 1989, and […] […]

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Recognizable OOC Recipients: Comedians

Tweet Dan Akroyd was a comedic actor who got his start in Saturday Night Live, then he and John Belushi formed The Blues Brothers which went from a blues/comedy act to a full-length film. Among the films he starred in, were Ghostbusters, Trading Places, Ghostbusters II, and the satire Dragnet. He was made a member of […] […]

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Famous Teetotalers 06: Very expressive people

Tweet Jim Carrey – Probably one of the funniest comedians alive, the star of the Ace Ventura sequels, The Mask, and The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind has had a few ups and downs in his private life, including battling depression, he has sworn off all meds, booze, and even coffee, and has been that […] […]

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Recognizable OOC Recipients 05: News anchors

Tweet Lloyd Robertson (OOC 1998) — He was six years an anchor for CBC news in the early to mid-seventies. He later moved to CTV, and had been anchor there until 2011 when he retired. He has been news anchor longer than Walter Cronkite, and is in fact the record holder for the longest-serving anchorman in […] […]

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Famous Teetotalers 05: Christians

Tweet There are many Christian denominations whose devotees practice abstinence: Mormons, Amish, Methodists, Quakers, 7th-day Adventists, Mennonites, Salvation Army members, and there are probably more that I can’t think of. But not all preach abstinence, including Roman Catholics. Jesus himself turned water into over a hundred gallons of wine (John 2:1-11), seemingly to encourage its use […] […]

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